BBH Report Home Page
July 9, 2002 Provided by System Dynamics Inc.

Heard on the Net

News about People and Companies Influencing The Broadband Home


People News

Colin Dixon has been named VP of applications and content at Liberate. He was formerly general manager of cable services for Microsoft's Web TV division. ( www.liberate.com )

Tim Evard has joined WSNet Inc. as Senior VP of Sales and Marketing. ( www.wsnet.tv )

Nicholas Hippolyte has beem appointed VP, Market Development for Asia-Pacific at Sigma Systems. ( www.sigma-systems.com )

Bryan Jones has been named VP of e.Digital's new Broadband Entertainment Business Unit. Jones was formerly with MP3.com and was also a radio host. ( www.edig.com )

Mike Jones has assumed the position of Director of Business Development/Service Providers for RADVISION. ( www.radvision.com )

Preston Lau has been named VP Sales for the Asia Pacific Region for Thirdspace. He was previously with Kasenna Inc. ( www.thirdspace.tv )

Steve Miron has been appointed President, Advance/Newhouse. Miron, son of A/N CEO Bob Miron, was formerly VP and general manager of Time Warner Cableís central New York cluster. The company also announced the appointments of Nomi Bergman as EVP of strategy and development and Bill Futera as VP and CFO. ( www.advance.net )

Dan Moloney has assumed the position of EVP Motorola, and president of BCS. He was previously senior VP and GM of the IP Systems Group for BCS. ( www.gi.com )

Stephen L. Robertson has been appointed President - Convergys International. ( www.convergys.com )

Stephen A. Royal has been appointed CFO at Net to Net Technologies, Inc. ( www.nettonet.com )

Piers Wilson has been appointed CEO of Two Way TV (US). He was previously the parent company's CFO. ( www.twowaytvus.com )


Company News

--Acquisitions

ATI Technologies Inc. is purchasing NxtWave Communications Inc. for $20 million cash. ( www.ati.com ) ( www.nxtwavecomm.com )

C-COR.net Corp. is purchasing Philips Broadband Networks division for approximately 80 million Euros and assumption of certain liabilities. ( www.c-cor.net ) ( www.philips.com )

Conexant has purchased GlobespanVirata's MPEG video and audio codec business for $21 million cash and 1.25 million shares of Conexant common stock. ( www.ati.com ) ( www.globespanvirata.com )

Fastnet Corp. has purchased selected assets of bankrupt AppliedTheory Corp.and has also purchased Netaxs/Earthstation. ( www.fast.net )

Gemstar-TV Guide International, Inc. is acquiring substantially all of the assets of bankrupt DIVA Systems Corporation. ( www.gemstartvguide.com ) ( www.divatv.com )

Internet Ventures, Inc. has been acquired by Turer Corporation which will change its name to IVI Communications. Nyhl Henson was named as new CEO and Chairman. IVI plans to continue acquiring and operating ISPs in small markets. ( www.ivn.net )

Liberty Media subsidiary Liberty Broadband Interactive Television, Inc. (LBIT) is acquiring all outstanding stock of Wink Communications, Inc. in a deal valued at $100 million. This follows Liberty's recent purchases of OpenTV and ACTV. ( www.libertymedia.com ) ( www.wink.com )

Liquid Audio has entered into a definitive merger agreement with Alliance Entertainment Corp. The companies hope the merger will enable them to become a leading provider of commerce solutions for entertainment media, providing both physical and digital distribution. ( www.liquidaudio.com ) ( www.aent.com )

NDS Group acquired VISIONIK A/S, an interactive TV application software company based in Denmark. ( www.ndsuk.com ) ( www.visionik.com )

Zhone Technologies, Inc. has acquired Vpacket Communications. The transaction is Zhone's seventh acquisition, and expands its selection of last-mile interfaces and protocols. ( www.zhone.com ) ( www.Vpacket.com )

--Funding

China Venture Capital Association (CVCA) has been announced in Beijing, creating an association of firms which manage in excess of $25bn of private equity and venture capital targeted for investment in China and Asia, according to IPO.com. Founding partners include such leading investment managers as Carlyle, Goldman Sachs and Warburg Pincus. CVCA is the first national venture capital body in Greater China, following the model of local associations in Hong Kong and Shanghai.

Broadview Networks has completed an additional $40 million plus round of equity financing. ( www.broadviewnet.com )

Indigo Software, a developer of Internet communications software based on SIP technology, has raised $4.5 million in a round of financing headed by their primary lead investor Sofinnova Ventures and including Belgian venture capital firm GIMV. ( www.indigosw.com ) ( www.sofinnova.com ) ( www.gimv.com )

Radiant has placed a $2.1 million equity investment in Phonetime as part of an agreement between the two companies that also includes the establishment of a marketing and strategic technology alliance. ( www.radiantholdings.com ) ( www.phonetime.com )

SAVVIS Communications Corp. has secured a $20 million investment from Constellation Ventures. ( www.savvis.net ) ( www.constellationventures.com )

Teknovus, a developer of broadband access semiconductor products, closed a $5 million first round of venture financing. ( www.teknovus.com )

--Other News

Acterna announced availability of its cable operational support systems (OSS) platform, Vision360, at Cable-Tec Expo. The system is reported to be under test by both Cablevision Systems Corp. and Time Warner Cable . ( www.acterna.com )

AOL Time Warner's cable division and Advance/Newhouse Communications have restructured their cable partnership. The new arrangement will switch about 2.1 million cable subscribers to Newhouse, reducing TWC's cable base by about 16 percent. As part of the deal, Time Warner Cable takes over Newhouse's stake in Road Runner. Meanwhile, resolution of the dispostion of AT&T's stake in Time Warner Entertainment is expected to become clearer this month; AOL TW CEO Richard Parsons has said that regaining full ownership of Time Warner Entertainment is a top priority. ( www.aoltimewarner.com ) ( www.advance.net ) ( www.rr.com ) ( www.att.com )

AT&T Broadband raised its prices -- but only for those customers who had already purchased cable modems. It increased its monthly service pricing by $7 but also reduced the $10 pricing differential between modem owners and leasers to $3 to reflect the sharp reduction in modem purchase prices, resulting in the same price for modem leasers. Modem owners are unlikely to be pleased with the change. ( www.attbi.com )

Comcast announced that it has begun to install equipment for the initial deployment of residential Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) phone service; Comcast plans to offer residential primary-line VoIP phone service in a Philadelphia suburb during the second quarter of 2003. ARRIS will provide the initial DOCSIS 1.1 CMTS. It looks like the time for end-to-end VoIP is finally getting closer for MSOs as Net2Phone also announced a 100-home VoIP trial with Liberty Cablevision's system in Puerto Rico. ( www.comcast.com ) ( www.arrisi.com ) ( www.net2phone.com ) ( www.libertycablevision.com )

FastWeb, the Italian provider of integrated telephony, Internet access and TV services, has deployed a complete networked PVR solution. It was launched this Spring and is available to approximately 80,000 subscribers. The deployment uses technology from Minerva Networks. ( www.ebiscom.it ) ( www.minervanetworks.com )

Gemstar encountered a serious setback when an ITC administrative law judge ruled that 3 of its patents for on-screen interactive program guides (IPG) hadn't been infringed upon. The decision allows EchoStar, Pioneer and Scientific-Atlanta, all of whom had designed their own IPGs, to continue importing satellite receivers and cable set-top boxes. ( www.gemstartvguide.com ) ( www.dishnetwork.com ) ( www.pioneerelectronics.com ) ( www.sciatl.com )

Hong Kong Broadband Network Ltd. (HKBN), a subsidiary of the CityTelecom Group, has established a broadband network that is offering coverage to more than 2,500 buildings with around one million residential homes passed; they anticipate their subscriber base will increase from 100,000 to over 200,000 by the end of the year. Their Metro Ethernet network is based on Cisco equipment and offers broadband Internet access and local telephony. A digital television service is planned. Similar to FastWeb in Italy, they offer dedicated 10Mbps connection to each subscriber. ( corporate.hkbn.net ) ( www.cisco.com )

IDT and Jungo announced a partnership to provide a Linux-based development platform for wireless LAN and SOHO routers. ( www.idt.com ) ( www.jungo.com )

Liberate Technologies and Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd. announced an integrated digital set-top supporting MPEG over IP based delivery of interactive video programs, content and services for DSL-based Telco networks. Samsung plans to offer the set-top to network operator customers worldwide later this year. ( www.liberate.com ) ( www.samsungelectronics.com )

Microsoft Corp., in a Securities and Exchange Commission filing, disclosed an offer to sell its 23.7 percent stake in Telewest Communications plc to Liberty Media's International unit for approximately $330 million. If this stake were added to Liberty's current 25% ownership of Telewest, John Malone would add control of another European MSO to his investments. ( www.microsoft.com ) ( www.telewest.co.uk ) ( www.libertymedia.com )

Motorola announced a fixed wireless access system for high speed Internet for residential and small business customers. Their Canopy system uses the unlicensed 5GHz spectrum and small, wireless components designed for small cell configurations. Its target market is community networks, wireless and community service providers and small- to moderate-sized private networks. The system can be deployed as a stand-alone, or used to extend the reach of wired IP distribution systems such as cable and DSL. ( www.motorola.com/canopy )

Next Level Communications announced commercial availability of its platform for delivering bundled services to densely populated areas. Called a Broadband Services Access Multiplexer (BSAM), it enables increased capacity in a small form factor and replaces the need for multiple Digital Subscriber Line Access Multiplexers (DSLAMs). This summer, Bell Canada will be the first telco to commercially deploy the new "998 band plan" BSAM product to provide digital TV and high-speed data services to the multi-dwelling unit (MDU) marketplace using very-high-speed digital subscriber line (VDSL) technology. ( www.nlc.com )

Philips Electronics demonstrated the FireWire protocol (IEEE 1394) running over an 802.11a wireless LAN interface. This combination, which allows the isochronous transfer needed for video and audio, could provide a wireless home networking solution for distribution of digital content. ( www.philips.com )

SONICblue has been granted a reversal of the customer tracking ruling of April 26, 2002, which required the company to implement software to monitor its customersí viewing habits. In separate news, SONICblue unveiled its new ReplayTV 4500 series PVR. The units add modem support for standard phone line connections, redesigned software and a service-based pricing model. The latter is a major departure from their original business model on which the units had a higher initial price but no on-going service charges. ( www.sonicblue.com )

Toshiba Semiconductor Co. and Toshiba America Electronic Components Inc. are licensing TiVo Inc.'s digital video recording technology. The intellectual property-based technology license includes TiVo's proprietary Media ASIC design, and a hardware porting kit that provides a standardized layer of implementing TiVo DVR services on a variety of platforms and operating systems. The first chips with the TiVo technology inside will be available in 2004. ( www.toshiba.com ) ( www.tivo.com )

Two Way TV announced that it has completed a licensing deal with NTL, which will integrate Two Way TVís Ark technologies into NTL's digital network. The system enables digital TV viewers to play along with game shows and interact with live programming. Two Way TV has a similar technology agreement with Telewest. ( www.twowaytv.com ) ( www.ntl.com ) ( www.telewest.co.uk )

Tylite, Inc. announced development of a subscriber demarcation box and fiber optic system design for providing Internet and broadcast video services over an Ethernet fiber network. The product is designed to be used in the deployment of networks by municipalities, Public Utility Districts (PUDs) and residential developers. The box provides an uplink connection to a fiber network, with a standard TV coax interface and a standard CAT-5e data downlink to the user. The end user links provide full-duplex 100 Mbps bandwith for data and video functionality. The design eliminates the need for an expensive set-top box within the residence since it carries broadcast video directly from the service provider, over the fiber network, to the subscriber's television. ( www.tylite.com )

Xtend Networks Ltd. announced completion of a field trial of their system for enabling cable bandwidth expansion at Golden Channels, a major Israeli MSO. See article below on solutions which expand "last mile" cable capacity at a fraction of the cost of a plant upgrade. ( www.xtendnetworks.com ) ( www.aztv.co.il )

--Industry Organizations

The High Definition Multimedia Interface (HDMI) founders announced availability of the draft specification v 0.9 defining HDMI, the next-generation digital interface for consumer electronics, intended to address the current HDTV stalemate in which Hollywood wants to protect its content against piracy and other stakeholders want to insure fair use of content and avoid undue burdens on others. The HDMI group was formed in April by Hitachi, Matsushita Electric (Panasonic), Philips, Silicon Image, Sony Corporation, Thomson Multimedia and Toshiba Corporation. The HDMI spec combines high-definition video and multi-channel audio in a single digital interface with a bandwidth of up to 5 Gigabits/second to carry full-bandwidth digital video and audio from set-top boxes to TV sets. Before any new standard is embraced, remaining issues such as how the technology would be implemented, what home users will be permitted to do, and the level of Hollywood control over those uses will need to be worked out. ( www.hdmi.org )

The Bandies, which concurrent with the Western cable show has been honoring the best in broadband content, has decided to postpone this year's event. They hope to be back in 2003. Michael Collette wrote us to say "While we can clearly see growing interest from the content community to enter the competition, sponsors are just plain confused/broke right now so we'll let the 2002 dust settle and be back, we hope, in 2003." ( www.thebandies.com )

--Legal/Regulatory

U.S. - There has been a great deal of rhetoric coming from Washington, DC on the subject of digital content protection and "cyberspace piracy". Rep. W.J. "Billy" Tauzin has set July 15 as his deadline for a digital TV solution. He has indicated that if private negotiations fail, he is prepared to step in and mandate government intervention. Meanwhile, Senate Commerce Committee Chmn. Hollings introduced S-2048 requiring DRM standards if the private sector doesn't reach agreement. One gap involves a broadcast flag standard to protect over-the-air broadcast content from being uploaded to the Internet. Resolution of these issues requires a delicate balancing process that preserves both consumer access and copyright protection.